Melanoma Awareness Month: Preventing & Detecting Skin Cancer

With the weather heating up, more people will be spending time outside in the sun. While the sun's warm rays may feel refreshing against your skin, without the proper precautions, UV exposure can be extremely damaging to your health. Not only can UV radiation lead to sunburn and premature aging, but also it can result in melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.

Enter National Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, a national observance highlighting the importance of skin cancer prevention and detection. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skincare and one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States. When caught early, the cancer is highly curable, but late-stage melanoma has a low survival rate. That's why prevention and early detection are so important.

According to the Melanoma Research Alliance, cases of melanoma have tripled during the past 30 years, despite the decline of other types of cancer. UV exposure is linked to about 90% of melanoma cases, whether from natural or artificial sources like tanning beds. While UV exposure is a major cause of skin cancer, family history and genetics can increase one's risk.

In honor of National Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Artesian Tan is sharing some tips to help you protect yourself from skin cancer.

  1. Always Wear Sunscreen. One of the best defenses you have against skin cancer is sunscreen. A common problem is many people don't put on sunscreen unless they're going to be hanging out by the pool or the beach. Sunscreen shouldn't be reserved just for hot summer days; the sun can impact your skin year round. Protect your skin every day with skincare products containing broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. In addition to traditional sunscreens, many moisturizers, body lotions and makeup foundations contain sunscreen. Along with sunscreen, wear sunglasses and a hat on high UV days to protect your eyes and scalp.
  2. Examine Your Skin Regularly. As previously noted, detecting melanoma early on is of the utmost importance. Examining your skin regularly can help you identify abnormal changes to your skin. Keep an eye out for moles or growths that are asymmetrical, have irregular borders, show changes in color, have diameters larger than a pencil eraser, and have grown in size or thickness. If you notice any of these symptoms, see your primary physician or dermatologist right away. Those at a greater risk for skin cancer should see a dermatologist regularly.
  3. Skip the Tanning Bed. While sun-kissed skin may be attractive, it's not worth your health. Rather than sunbathing or using a tanning bed, get a spray tan. Spray tanning is a healthier alternative and actually offers many benefits over traditional tanning. Modern spray tan equipment gives you an even streak-free tan, without the tan lines, and delivers faster results.

To protect your skin from melanoma and other forms of skin cancer, follow these tips. To learn more about skin cancer, potential risk factors and prevention, talk to your healthcare provider.

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